Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Uzbekistan has imposed self-isolation regimes in Tashkent, regional centers from April 6 to stem spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

This alert affects Uzbekistan

This alert began 07 Apr 2020 10:28 GMT and is scheduled to expire 20 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant travel and business disruptions

Summary
As of 0600 April 6, authorities in Uzbekistan have imposed mandatory self-isolation regimes in Tashkent, Samarkand, Nukus, and all other regional centers in an attempt to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Residents with chronic illnesses or over the age of 65 are strictly prohibited from leaving their homes except in the case of a medical emergency. All other residents may leave their homes to commute to work, walk dogs, buy essential groceries or medicines, and for medical emergencies.

Authorities previously introduced movement restrictions and other measures in efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19. The use of personal cars has been prohibited in Tashkent, Nukus, Samarkand, and other regional centers until April 20. Personal car used is banned without a permit, which the government is issuing for healthcare workers, critical infrastructure workers, and those engaged in the manufacture, farming, transport, and retail of essential goods. Emergency services and security forces personnel, diplomats, public utility services, and freight vehicles can travel without permits. All airports have suspended operations and domestic air travel has been halted; the restriction will be in place until at least 0001 April 20. Humanitarian, cargo, and some charter flights will be permitted. In addition, no vehicles, with the exception of freight and goods vehicles, are permitted to travel between different districts of the country.

Authorities announced widespread restrictions on public transport nationwide from March 23. All passenger transport, including metro and bus services, has been suspended in regional urban centers; taxis are still operating, though they are undergoing mandatory cleaning daily. People found in public areas without protective facemasks will be fined. Authorities have asked all institutions and businesses to send nonessential personnel on leave, with essential staff working remotely as far as possible. Critical facilities, including fuel stations, groceries, and pharmacies, remain open.

All land border crossings are currently closed, though foreign nationals attempting to leave the country will reportedly be permitted to do so. Officials could amend health and travel measures at short-notice in the coming weeks in response to government threat assessments.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers. Plan for possible ground shipping and travel delays; seek alternative routes and shipping methods for time-sensitive cargo.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
Uzbekistan Ministry of Public Health: www.minzdrav.uz

World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int